Thesis of Albin Petit

Protecting users privacy in current Web search engines


The objective of my Ph.D. is to offer the possibility to any user to send queries to a given provider (e.g. Google, Bing) without compromising her privacy. Indeed, the content of each query is used by the provider to create an accurate user profile without any control or agreement of the user. These profiles are owned by the provider and thus, it is able to use this data as it wants.
Solutions to protect the user against this issue already exist but they usually suffer from a huge computational cost (using cryptography or adding noise) and are potentially broken because of statistical attacks. My work will be divided in three main parts: (i) the design of a new privacy preserving Web search protocol; (ii) the creation of a generic module to adapt the protection according to the sensitivity of a query; and (iii) the design an efficient attack against private Web search solutions.

Advisor: Lionel Brunie
Coadvisor: Sonia Ben Mokhtar
Codirection: Harald Kosch

Defense date: monday, may 15, 2017